Wilmott has received a missive from Satyajit Das, well known to readers for his acerbic takes on the economic mise en scene. Only apt then that the communication begins with a doff of the cap to the theatre:
In Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, the male lead declares that he is “fortune’s fool”, subject to the whims of fate. The phrase (no copyright issues; author long dead!) provides the inspiration for Fortune’s Fool: Australia’s Choices.
Australia’s prosperity relies on the continent’s extraordinary natural — primarily mineral —riches and good fortune. But economic, financial, environmental, geopolitical, and societal pressures now threaten the nation’s high living standards. The COVID-19 pandemic is the first of many trials to come. Lackluster reform proposals are mired in ideological necrophilia: ideas which have been tried and failed. Politics is trading insults and slogans. Institutions lack the quality, skills, organizational memory, and courage to deliver the required solutions. A disengaged citizenry is focused on preserving their entitled way of life, refusing to accept that the well of plenty is approaching exhaustion. Critics are derided as permanent professional pessimists, the doubting Irishman Hanrahan in John O’Brien’s poem warning of ‘roon’. Cognitive dissonance is a national religion.
Written in accessible, acerbic prose, Fortune’s Fool cuts through these issues to expose Australia’s current dilemmas and choices. It dissects the pandemic, global trends, Australia’s narrow ‘house and holes’ economy, and its dependency on China, spotlighting a political paralysis that must be overcome and the changes that are urgently needed. For Australians remotely concerned about their own future and their children’s, as well as the country’s, Fortune’s Fool is essential reading.
The book mines Samuel Beckett seeking to fail even better than last year’s A Banquet of Consequences – Reloaded. The disaster was related to civil engineering: “Readers need an ‘off-ramp’!” It seems potential buyers prefer happy endings and solutions requiring no work, cost, sacrifice, pain, or any other unfair or burdensome demands — strangely — though much of what was said in that work has proved to be largely accurate.
Fortune’s Fool … has the advantage of brevity — only 96 pages. This reflects my weary soul, attention spans shaped by Twitter and Tik-Tok, and the undeniable fact that Australia is small in the scheme of things.
The work evidences my defiance of Einstein (repeating the same actions hoping for a different outcome) and inability to understand that few have the slightest interest in what I think.
Fortune’s Fool – Purchase Options (such choice!)
Or you could try a real bookshop but, oh, they won’t stock it — silly me!
Romeo’s attempts to oppose destiny did not do him much good. This — most likely my last work (I have exhausted publishers and goodwill and must ‘meet the time as it seeks us’) — will not have a different outcome.